A Bush Camp in the Hills
10 Nov 2006
Bush camping along with a very nice crowd of people turned out to be instructive, pleasant, relaxing, and cheap. Once again we have made more friends and were disappointed in some ways that we were moving on and unlikely to meet again; though we do have some invite's to stay if we have the opportunity before we leave Melbourne for New Zealand.
Sometimes the club goes on Safari, moving site each day. This time it was on one site in an area known as the Pyrenees. Some vans left on Monday, some on Tuesday and the rest of us on Wednesday. We had been guests of the club since Friday afternoon and each leaving involved genuine fond goodbyes.
The days involved some walks in the forest where we learned about some of the plants and trees, and birds. On one walk we came across camp facilities, an area where school children are catered for. The teacher was showing her primary 4 class how to cook damper, which every Girl Guide knows is a bread mixture wrapped round a stick and heated over an open fire. Most of the children did not seem to have the hang of this and my last memory was one with a very black lump on the end of her stick about to put jam on it.
We did a bit of cooking outside on equipment provided by some of the club members and I was amazed at the inventiveness of my fellow campers. There seemed to be an official time for tea drinking, (though we did not always drink tea), and happy hour was always looked forward to even if we had started a little earlier. Home made biscuits, cakes, canapés and also shop bought items were taken or passed around and I dutifully always had some of whatever I was offered. (I just hate to seem unkind).
Apart from the walking, eating and drinking we sat around talking. What a hard life. We learned a great deal and had our map marked with places to visit as we travel around Australia. On one day we had our van officially assessed for Bush Camping and we will receive a certificate for 6 days for one person, or in our case, 3 days for the two of us. It is a scheme of the Motor Home club to encourage people to be responsible campers and after visiting an area only leave footprints and tire marks and only take with you memories and photographs.
Our van has sufficient power, fresh water and grey water tanks, and toilet facilities to allow us three days on a site where only vans with the certificate can enter. We had every intention to be responsible campers but are now pleased we can display the certificate and encourage others to consider doing likewise. So now you have it; I am officially certified.
The Melbourne cup, a horse race that apparently stops the country every first Tuesday in November, took place and we sat round a telly and watched it. We had spent our 4 dollars in the sweep and Sylvia won 3; I'm still working out if we did win.
Once again I was amazed at the resourcefulness, humour, and the welcoming attitude and helpfulness of a Chapter of the Motor Home Club. After more hugs and kisses we set off for the start of the Grampians and our first night base at Dunkeld.
I end with a camp fire joke. The Mother Superior said, "I have to announce we have a case of gonorea in the house". A Nun said, "Good, I'm getting fed up of Chardonnay".